Understanding Pregnancy Ultrasounds

A pregnancy ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images your healthcare providers can view on a computer monitor to give them information about your pregnancy. You might be wondering why a pregnancy ultrasound is necessary if you have not yet made a decision about your unexpected pregnancy. Ultrasound is beneficial because the images provide your medical team with important data, and this knowledge can give you the facts you need to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

Types of Pregnancy Ultrasounds

Pregnancy ultrasounds include transabdominal, transvaginal, Level 2, 3D, doppler, and fetal echocardiography ultrasounds.

After a positive pregnancy test, you will likely receive:

Transabdominal ultrasound

Gel is placed on your abdomen, and a roller-like device (transducer) is moved over the gel on your abdomen. The transducer picks up soundwaves that produce images onto a computer screen.

Transvaginal ultrasound

A special, smaller transducer probe is lubricated with gel and gently placed into your vagina to obtain images. Transvaginal ultrasound is used primarily in early pregnancy.

Ways a Pregnancy Ultrasound Is Useful

To Determine Pregnancy Viability

Even if you have already decided upon abortion, you will need to know if your pregnancy is viable. A positive pregnancy test result tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone was detected in your urine. However, it does not mean you have a viable pregnancy.

According to the March of Dimes, as many as half of all pregnancies end in miscarriage: 80% of those occur in the first trimester — or the first twelve weeks. So, after a positive pregnancy test result, you will need to confirm your pregnancy is viable by ultrasound. A viable pregnancy is one that is expected to continue and result in childbirth (if no other steps are taken).

If no fetal heartbeat is detected, you would not need an abortion but would be referred for medical treatment instead.

The location of your pregnancy also impacts viability. If your healthcare provider detects a heartbeat by ultrasound, but the pregnancy is located outside of your uterus (i.e., in the fallopian tube), your pregnancy is also not viable. An ectopic pregnancy, a pregnancy implanted in the fallopian tube, is a medical emergency and requires immediate intervention.

The fetal heart rate also impacts the viability of your pregnancy. Research reveals that if an ultrasound detects a very low heart rate, called embryonic bradycardia, the rate of miscarriage is significantly higher. If embryonic bradycardia is identified during your ultrasound appointment, you will likely be asked to return in about a week to repeat the test.

To Determine How Far Along You Are in Your Pregnancy

An ultrasound can accurately measure how many weeks pregnant you are. You can’t count on using only menstrual dates for accuracy because many women experience period-like bleeding while they are pregnant.

If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are still gathering information about how you will proceed, you will need to know how far along you are because your options will partly depend on that.

To Determine If You Have a Single Pregnancy or Multiple Pregnancy

An ultrasound can also give you a valuable indication that you might be carrying a single or multiple pregnancy.

Get the Answers You Deserve

If you have had a positive home pregnancy test or think you might be pregnant, contact our compassionate team at Willow Womens Center. We provide licensed professional medical care, including pregnancy testing and ultrasounds at no cost to you. Reach out today by calling 608-312-2025 or by using our online scheduler.


When Is an Ultrasound Most Beneficial?

You have just learned you are pregnant. You did not expect it, and you never thought you would be wrestling with such a big decision. Now what? Where do you start looking for resources and accurate, unbiased answers to your questions?

Willow Womens Center will help you find the answers to your questions. We will walk with you, one step at a time, amidst the tremendous stress of an unexpected pregnancy. One of those steps will be an ultrasound, provided by our licensed medical professionals at no cost.

What is an Ultrasound?

A pregnancy ultrasound is a safe medical test that creates images using sound waves. These images supply important facts to help you make informed decisions about an unexpected pregnancy.

Why an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an important follow-up after you have a positive pregnancy test because this test alone does not confirm a viable pregnancy. You can have a positive pregnancy test along with a nonviable pregnancy. A pregnancy test tells you that the hCG pregnancy hormone has been detected in your urine, but only an ultrasound will tell you if the pregnancy is viable or not. It is crucial for you to have this information before making a decision about an unexpected pregnancy.

An ultrasound also determines an accurate date of conception. That means you will know how far along you are in your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is unexpected, and you are considering abortion, this is critical information to have as you make an educated decision.

Ultrasound Timing

A pregnancy ultrasound should be performed no earlier than six weeks after the first day of your last period. This ensures that your pregnancy is far enough along to provide accurate and useful information.

Sometimes, even if you have a viable pregnancy, the ultrasound does not detect it. The most common reason for this is that it was too early to detect. When this happens, you can make an appointment in another week or two for a follow-up ultrasound.

There are several reasons why a viable pregnancy would not be detected on ultrasound:

  • The pregnancy is too early to detect
  • Conception occurred later in your menstrual cycle
  • Mistaken last missed period date
  • Larger abdomen
  • Tipped uterus

The last thing you need right now is to add to your stress by having to face more uncertainty and waiting after an inconclusive ultrasound. So, be sure to schedule your pregnancy ultrasound appointment at least six weeks or longer after the first day of your last period when the ultrasound is most beneficial.

Get Reliable Support

Call (608) 312-2025, and make an appointment with Willow Womens Center today. We understand that you can feel bombarded with information, facts and conflicting advice when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy. Our compassionate advocates and licensed medical professionals are available to answer your questions in a judgment-free environment. We are committed to empowering you, so you can feel good about making an informed decision.


When To Take the Morning-After Pill and When Not To
when to take the morning after pill and when not to

You have heard about the morning-after pill, but you feel that you need more information before you consider taking it. How does the morning-after pill work? Is it different from the abortion pill? What are the possible side effects? How do I know when to take the morning-after pill and when not to? These are common questions women ask, and you deserve accurate answers, which you will find here.

How Does the Morning-After Pill Work?

The morning-after pill is a high dose of the progestin hormone (levonorgestrel) that a woman can take to try to prevent pregnancy. A common brand name is Plan B One-Step. A woman might take it right after having had unprotected sex, missing multiple doses of birth control pills, or experiencing failed birth control such as a condom breaking.

The morning-after pill is different from the abortion pill. The abortion pill is used after a confirmed pregnancy has already occurred, but the morning-after pill prevents pregnancy from happening. The morning-after pill won’t cause an abortion once a fertilized egg has already implanted into the uterus.

According to Mayo Clinic, the morning-after pill works in one of three ways:

1. It can prevent ovulation.

Ovulation occurs each month around the middle of your menstrual cycle. It is when your ovary releases a mature egg. The main way the morning-after pill works is by preventing ovulation, an egg from releasing from the ovary.

2. It can prevent an egg from becoming fertilized.

Another way the morning-after pill works is by changing the movement of the released egg or sperm, which can prevent fertilization.

3. It can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

If fertilization has already occurred, it is possible that the morning-after pill can prevent the fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine lining. This is the least common way the morning-after pill works.

When To Take the Morning-After Pill and When Not To

The morning-after pill is available at drug stores without age restriction, identification, or a prescription. Since guidance from a healthcare provider is not required either, it is common for women to have unanswered questions about when to take the morning-after pill and when not to take it. We will offer only general guidelines here. Please ask your pharmacist or doctor about specific questions you may have.

First, we will look at when you might consider taking the morning-after pill. As we discussed above, women take it when they have had unprotected sex or when birth control fails for any reason.

It is designed to be taken as soon as possible after sex – within 12 hours provides the highest chance of preventing pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the morning-after pill for up to 72 hours; however, research reveals it can prevent pregnancy, although less effectively, up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.

How effective is the morning-after pill? If it is taken within 24 hours, there is a 95% chance that it will prevent pregnancy. If it is taken within 72 hours, the effectiveness drops to about 75-89%. It is only 25% effective if five days have passed. The closer it is taken to the time of unprotected sex or failed contraception, the higher the chances that it will prevent pregnancy. Timing is important.

If you take the morning-after pill and discover you are pregnant, studies show that the medication does not harm the pregnancy if you choose to continue it. Research also indicates that if you take the morning-after pill while you are breastfeeding, it may decrease milk production. The pill’s hormones are passed through to breastmilk but don’t appear to cause harm to the development or health of the breastfeeding infant.

We have talked about when to take the morning-after pill. Are there situations where it would be less effective, or when should you not take the morning-after pill? Yes, do not take the morning-after pill if:

  • It has been more than 120 hours (5 days) since you had unprotected sex.
  • You know you are pregnant, or you think you might be pregnant.
  • You are experiencing unexplained spotting or pain, which could indicate an ectopic pregnancy (a medical emergency of a pregnancy outside of the uterus).
  • You have a hypersensitivity or allergy to its ingredients.
  • You are using it as a regular form of birth control.
  • You already took one dose. Doubling up the dose does not work better or lessen the chance of pregnancy.

The morning-after pill is less effective if:

  • You wait to take it. The chance of an unintended pregnancy increases as time passes after unprotected sex.
  • You take certain drugs or medications, such as barbiturates or St. John’s wort, that metabolize the progestin hormone.
  • You are overweight. There has been conflicting information about the morning-after pill being less effective if a woman has a BMI over 35.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill?

Side effects of the morning-after pill typically don’t last more than a few days and can include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramps

If you vomit within two hours of taking the morning-after pill, notify your healthcare provider for further instructions.

What If I Don’t Get My Period After Taking the Morning-After Pill?

If you took the morning-after pill and your period hasn’t started within three weeks, make an appointment for an evaluation to determine if the morning-after pill worked or not. Willow Womens Center offers confidential, medical-grade pregnancy testing at no cost to you.

If your pregnancy test is negative and your period still doesn’t start, we are here to repeat the pregnancy test for you – also at no cost.

If your pregnancy test is positive, our compassionate healthcare professionals will provide the information you need to make a decision about your pregnancy. We will offer you a no-cost ultrasound to determine if your pregnancy is viable. We know that knowledge is empowering. You will also be given information about each of your pregnancy options so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.

If you think you might be pregnant, make an appointment at Willow Womens Center today, and receive the caring support you deserve.


Pregnancy Resources in South Beloit
Pregnancy Resources in South Beloit

Do you live in or near South Beloit, IL, and think you might be unexpectedly pregnant? Willow Womens Center is nearby to provide the compassionate support you need during this uncertain time.

No-cost Pregnancy Services

Willow Womens Center is an authentic medical clinic staffed by licensed medical professionals. We offer pregnancy services to you at no cost, including:

  • High-quality pregnancy testing

Even if you had a positive pregnancy test result at home, we will run another medical-grade pregnancy test for you so you can get the written verification needed for support services.

  • Pregnancy ultrasounds

It is vital to have an ultrasound even if you are considering abortion. An ultrasound provides critical information such as how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable or not.

  • Unbiased and accurate information

We understand that only YOU can make the best decision for you personal circumstances, which is why we are passionate about equipping you with unbiased and accurate information about your pregnancy and your options. We want to empower you to make an informed decision.

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing

If your pregnancy test is positive, we provide testing for two common STIs: gonorrhea and chlamydia.

  • Community referrals

We want you to be connected to the community resources you need to be healthy and provided for. We will offer referral information for further testing or support services available in the community.

Our compassionate staff members will never judge you for being unexpectedly pregnant, for the choice you make about your pregnancy, or anything else. We care about you and strive to empower you to make a confident decision about your pregnancy.

Willow Womens Center is located in Beloit, WI, near Beloit Memorial Hospital and across the street from McDonalds at 2680 Prairie Avenue. Contact us today for your confidential appointment.

About South Beloit

Nestled along the scenic Turtle Creek and Rock River, the city of South Beloit, Illinois is located in Winnebago County and bordered to the north by Beloit, Wisconsin along the Illinois-Wisconsin state line.

Although South Beloit is only six square miles, it provides many riveting highlights to visitors ranging from outdoor recreation to shopping. Places of interest in South Beloit include:

  • Angela’s Attic

Angela’s Attic is a 35,000 square foot, family-owned and operated antique shop. They have over 100 dealers who sell unique antiques, collectibles, and memorabilia.

  • Blackhawk Farms Raceway

Blackhawk Farms Raceway is a fun place for racing enthusiasts. Amateur and professional drivers alike will be challenged along the nearly two-mile asphalt course, which incorporates seven turns. Spectators can be wowed by motorcycle, bicycle, go-cart, and sports car races on the weekends.

  • DC Estate Winery

DC Estate Winery is a beautiful vineyard, winery, and event venue, which is also a family-owned and operated business. Visitors feel like they are stepping into the hills of Tuscany with its magnificent views and warm, family hospitality.

  • Nature at The Confluence

Surrounded by the stunning Rock River, Turtle Creek, and Kelly Creek, Nature at The Confluence is an urban environmental center that opened in 2017 to connect people with nature.

  • Pearl Lake

Pearl Lake is a privately owned RV resort and lake that provides pristine aqua-colored water in which to scuba dive and swim.


Pregnancy Resources in Evansville
Pregnancy Resources in Evansville

If you feel unsure or scared due to an unplanned pregnancy, Willow Womens Center is here for you. We understand the shock and uncertainty you are facing and can help make sense of your next steps. We provide confidential pregnancy services at no cost so you can get the answers you deserve to make an informed decision for your future.

Pregnancy Resources in Evansville

It is not uncommon to feel helpless when you are unexpectedly pregnant. Yet, our compassionate, licensed healthcare professionals at Willow Womens Center are available to empower you with the information you need to be confident again. If you live in Evansville, we are just 35 minutes away in Beloit via WI 213 – N.

Our caring advocates can help you take one step at a time. Our services include:

  • Medical-grade pregnancy testing: Even if you already took a home pregnancy test and the results were positive, we will provide a medical-grade pregnancy test, which allows us to present you with written verification of your pregnancy.
  • Limited pregnancy ultrasound: The next step is a limited pregnancy ultrasound to confirm a viable pregnancy since a pregnancy test cannot do that, and to determine the age of the pregnancy.
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing: If your pregnancy test is positive, we also offer STI testing. An untreated STI can lead to you contracting an infection such as pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to reproductive system damage and infertility. (We currently offer this service to all residents of the Stateline area.)
  • Referrals: If your STI test is positive, we provide a prescription (Chlamydia) or referrals (Gonorrhea) so you can receive the proper treatment. We can also provide various community resources,which offer tangible assistance.

If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, contact Willow Womens Center today for your confidential appointment. YOU are our priority, and we believe you are capable of making the right choice for you and your future.

About Evansville

The historically-rich community of Evansville offers traditional Midwest small-town life advantages together with perks of big city living — all in a beautiful setting. Evansville is the fastest growing city in Rock County and is accessibly located near Janesville, Madison, and Beloit, Wisconsin.

One of the highlights of this friendly and family-oriented city is its brick-lined Main Street and nearly 300 historical sites within a five-block walking radius. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, Evansville is home to “the finest collection of 1840s to 1915 architecture of any small town in Wisconsin.”

Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will appreciate Leonard-Leota Park, where visitors can canoe, fish, ice-skate, and even log-roll on stream-fed Lake Leota. In addition to water activities, the park also provides opportunities for baseball, softball, basketball, tennis, hiking, picnicking, and skating. There are four playground areas, as well as a swimming and lap pool on-site at the Veteran’s Memorial Aquatic Center.

Residents and visitors of Evansville have enjoyed dining at Night Owl Food & Spirits for over three decades. They build up the community with fun through trivia nights and their pool and dart leagues.

Just Beyond the Willow is one of Evansville’s newest specialty vintage boutiques that will delight shoppers looking for unique treasures. It showcases items from talented artisans and is a welcome addition to the thriving art community.